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Human Nature Within The Text of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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Introduction

Human Nature within the Text of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in Victorian Society. In today's society, the duality of human nature is almost everywhere we turn. It can be quite a struggle to identify it though. Duality can be found within politics, religion, parenting, media or technology and much more. For example, parenting because some parents may smack their children if they do something wrong to show them a lesson where as others think it is completely wrong and it's showing the wrong message to children and that children shouldn't be harmed. Also, within politics there are dual characters. The politicians could be someone that they are not, just so they could look good in front of the media and the public. Another example of duality of human nature in society is, within religion, someone may read a passage of their holy book and interpret it to mean something good like helping people whereas someone else may read it and interpret it to mean something bad for example, murdering for their religion like terrorists. There are quite a few authors who write about the duality of human nature for example, Robert Lewis Stevenson. Robert Lewis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh on the 13th of December 1850. He was born to Thomas Stevenson and Margaret Balfour but he was mainly raised by his nanny, Alison Cunningham who was a major influence to Stevenson because of her stern Protestantism and fund of folk-tales. His first major publication was An Island Voyage in 1878 and Travels with a Donkey in 1879. After getting married to Fanny Osbourne, who already had two children, Stevenson settled in Bournemouth where he wrote some his most important work, like The Strange Case of Dr. ...read more.

Middle

After Mr. Enfield finished explaining, Mr. Utterson asked him a number of questions and Mr. Enfield tries to describe what the man was like but couldn't quite explain, stating "I never saw a man I so disliked, and yet I scarce know why." This means that Mr. Hyde was not a usual person and there was something there that made him so different but no one could place their finger on it. Another horrible incident that happens is the murder of Sir Danvers Carew. A maid is the witness of a small, evil-looking man who she recognises as Mr. Hyde murdering Sir Danvers Carew. The maid described Hyde to be "like a madman." And that he had "ape-like fury". This suggests that Hyde did anything but act like a human being and he was acting like a wild beast of some sort. Within Sir Carew's pocket there is a letter for Utterson so he is called right away. Utterson takes the police to Hyde's address and thinks that it is weird that someone who lives in such squalor is the heir to Dr. Jekyll's fortune. Inside the house has richness of the upper-class and this suggests that it may be a gift from Jekyll because only the upper-class could afford the place. There is also evidence that Jekyll and Hyde are linked for they find the walking stick Utterson gave Jekyll and the cheque book. This means that Jekyll has something to hide as well as Hyde does. This incident illustrates the extent of Hyde's capacity of evil where as before, the reader may have taken Hyde to just be nothing more than an unscrupulous opportunist, manipulating Jekyll. ...read more.

Conclusion

From here, all the mysteries of the novel unravel themselves. All the events that seem unclear are now explained. With Jekyll's confession everything falls into place. Jekyll's meditations on the dual nature of man, which prompt his forays into the experiments that bring forth Hyde, point to the novel's central question about the nature of the relationship between the good and evil portions of the human soul. Jekyll summarizes his thoughts on human duality in the statement "It was on the moral side, and in my own person, that I learned to recognise the thorough and primitive duality of man; I saw that, of the two natures that contended in the field of my consciousness, even if I could rightly be said to be either, it was only because I was radically both; and from an early date . . . I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of these elements." By this Jekyll means that humans are half virtuous and half criminal, half moral and half amoral. Hyde is smaller and younger than Jekyll which could mean that the evil part of Jekyll is less developed than the good part. Hyde's physical strength, however, may suggest the opposite. Evil can have a superior power. Stevenson suggests the immensity of humanity's bad impulses which conscience can barely hold. I think that in the end, the point of Jekyll and Hyde's sins were not as important as Stevenson's point that the lure of darkness is a huge part of human nature. In a way, everyone is a bit like Jekyll, all trying to keep the Hyde in them under control and to not allow it to escape. By Alice Penny. ...read more.

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